J has been traveling for work a bit more these days. It's usually for a couple of nights, two or three, long enough for us to notice, short enough to not be a big deal. Our days are usually fine - with ballet and preschool, errands and park playdates. It's the nights that can seem a bit hard. Dinner and clean-up. Stories and nursing. The transition from afternoon to evening to bed. So, I thought maybe we'd try to go out to dinner. I've never taken all three girls out alone to a sit-down restaurant, but I thought I should try.
The hostess welcomed us in and told us to choose a seat, I found a table in a somewhat empty corner of the restuaruant, near a sweet elderly couple. I smiled as we all sat down and they commented on how beautiful my girls were. I thanked them and Daisy launched into her entire life history, informing of the fact that Daddy's out of town, her favorite color is now red, and she wished she could wear her long skirts every day. They sat and listened to Violet's adorable baby babble. They laughed at Daisy's (terrible) knock-knock jokes. They told me a sweet story about their eighteen month old great-granddaughter, and we all laughed as Violet kept squawking for more bread. They smiled at me when Lily announced (to the entire restaurant) that she needed to poop (the minute my food arrived).
When we eventually sat back down we took our time eating, Violet shoveled fistfuls of pasta into her tiny mouth. Lily dipping her bread into her mustard bowl and Daisy telling me how delicious the apple slices were. "Momma, you should get the recipe for these apples, she said, They are the best apples I've ever had." The couple soon left, waving goodbye to us as they walked away. The girls told them good bye and wished them goodnight.
After we finished our meal (and I ordered a delicious slice of lemon pie with a bluberry sauce in a to-go box) our server infomed me that our billed had already been paid, complements of the couple sitting next to us.
This incrediably thoughtful, wonderful, kind gift arrived after a a long couple of days. Violet is cutting another tooth, making her a bit more fussy. Lily always struggles more than her sisters when Daddy is gone, throwing several monster temper trantrums over the past few days. I was humbled and blown away by their generousity. To be given such an amazing gift by someone whom I've never met, at a time when I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, made the universe seem to right itself again.
So, to the couple sitting next to us at Chow last night. Thank you. Thank you for loving on us. Thank you for humoring my children by laughing at their jokes and stories. Thank you for not complaining to the server about the noisy kids and the three-year-old who wouldn't sit still. But, mostly, thank you for reminding me that kindness in strangers is indeed alive and well.